Tuesday, 21 September 2021

What Was Lost In Editing

My initial pride at editing out so much of my last post was replaced with the realization that this is what happens every time I edit my posts -- I don't just reduce the word count while keeping the message intact; instead, I take out information I'm uncomfortable putting in, which inevitably means I take out information that is important to the whole story. 

It also means I think I've told you things I haven't, because inside my brain the information still registers as "written" even though I've deleted it, so what remains of the post doesn't make as much sense as it could have.

And finally, it means I still have half the story bottled up inside me, something I am finding hard to sustain.

So in this post I'm going to give you the edited parts, to reduce my stress and to try to give you the whole story, or as whole as I can make it.

You know what they say, there are three sides to every story: yours, mine, and the truth. In this case: my story, my mother's story, and the truth. I will try hard to be objective but please know that I realize what an impossible job that is.

My mom has always had a tendency to want control over the others in her life. She was a teacher, fer cryin' out loud. (That's an inside joke for all the families of teachers I have known). She was a good teacher, I think, but those skills don't necessarily translate to parenting or partnering. At home she wore the pants, as the saying goes. It affected all our lives. From my earliest memory, there was no marital harmony in our home. My mother finally divorced my father in the mid-1990s. She re-married a few years later, but left him within a few years. So, she has happily lived alone since 2000, by her own choice. That was also the year she moved to my town, close to where she grew up and only a short distance from me and my family.

At first she was self-sufficient, but as the years rolled past and she reached her late 70s and beyond, I and my husband began to be on call for her if she needed accompanying to appointments or little things done around her house. We were okay with that. I mention it only to show that she was becoming more dependent on us long before the dementia began.

At the same time, one of our teenagers developed a severe chronic illness which kept her bedridden for a year and needing help for years after that. Then my father had a paralyzing stroke just as our daughter left the bedridden stage of her illness, and he had to be placed in a nursing home for the last eight years of his life. I was his closest relative, both emotionally and geographically. I took care of his finances and the sale of his home, bought his clothing, did his gift shopping, attended all his medical appointments and surgeries, visited him almost daily, and helped him stay in touch with his siblings and my brother, as he could not use the telephone independently. Five years after his death, my husband developed cancer and died ten months later: ten months of worry, appointments, increasing care, and total heartbreak.

I did everything I could think of for all of them and ached for them, wishing I could relieve their burdens in some way. I do not think I am lacking in empathy. Yet I have so little empathy for my mother. It's not due to her dementia; dealing with dementia alone is difficult but it doesn't kill my compassion. My lack of empathy is due to her personality. These days, she is just more of what she always was. She talks only of herself. She is the center of every melodramatic story, with details that have changed to make her the heroine every time. She blames everyone else for any problems that arise, a long-standing habit. She has taken frugality to meanness, not with her family (which feels uncomfortably like she is trying to buy our love) but for anyone she hires or who does work for her voluntarily, such as her neighbour who shovels her snow and mows her lawn. If I were to give him money or a gift, I would be accused of meddling (and I suppose I would be) but I'm afraid that if I wait until I can repay him without Mom finding out, it might be too late. We never know how life will go.

The situation is frustrating and stressful and at the exact same time it makes me feel crappy toward myself that I don't have the compassion for her that I had for my other family members.

I do realize that part of the stress and resentment I feel toward my mother is because her needs and demands have caused me to put off processing my grief. I have had to box it up and put it away. As the seasons pass, I would like to be able to have the time and space to experience my memories and mourn my husband and everything we shared in the past and still planned for the future. Mom remembers my husband has died, but she doesn't seem to understand how much it affects my life and how I feel. She loves to tell the story of the neighbour whose husband died suddenly; there was a home reception and the guests were sitting quietly and sadly. She baked cookies and took them to the home and everyone forgot their sadness (in her words). In reality, I expect they were simply being polite.

Another part of my frustration is that I've had little to no time or energy for the rest of the people I care about, in particular my children and grandchildren. One of my little grandsons has special needs and it takes a lot of energy to be with him. I just haven't had it in me, partly because of the energy I put into Mom's care.

To add to the pile, I have left undone a great many other things that should have been looked after since my husband's death: paperwork, major house and yard maintenance, and a decision on what to do with our cottage, a place that holds especially strong memories of my husband. With my job, the daily necessities of life, and Mom's care, I haven't the time or energy to do more than deal with each thing as it gets to crisis status.

My mother had her good points, too, and I try to remember them. She worked while raising us and made sure we had good medical and dental care and a good education, things not available to everyone in our area. Her focus on herself was less evident when she was younger, and she was always willing to do her share in the community. She helped nurse her brother and her father when they were at the end of their lives. (Side note: that was her favourite sibling, and she in turn was her father's favourite -- his own words.) And my mother didn't have her own mother around from the time she was about eight years old. She says her mother left; the story I heard straight from my grandfather was that he threw his wife -- and new baby -- out. My mother's aunts helped to raise her and her siblings until my mother was old enough to take over household duties. She did not have an easy life growing up. But I saw so much of my grandfather's selfish and short-tempered behavior in my mother. Did her personality come from genes or environment? I don't know. What I do know is that I share some of those genes and they come out at times, no matter how aware I am or how hard I try to do better. So how much blame should I put on my mother's shoulders for her own behavior?

I don't know. It seems the only thing I know for sure is how stressed out I am.

Anyway . . . that's the stuff I was reluctant to publish last time. Maybe it will help fill in the blanks for you. I still don't like putting it out in a public space but I don't think I can keep it bottled up either without adding to my stress. 

 

You have no idea how many times I've wanted to use this meme.

 

Thanks for reading, kind friends. I hope I haven't fallen too low in your eyes. This is the unvarnished, dark side of me. It's not pretty, but at least -- at last -- I've tried to be honest.

 

 

 

 

47 comments:

  1. I'm glad you've been able to write all this out, which has hopefully helped you process your feelings and your frustrations. It's difficult to take care of a senior adult -- probably one of the hardest jobs any of us could have. Not only do we have to deal with their immediate infirmities, but also all the baggage that might accompany the relationship in the first place. I hear you!

    It sounds like you did a reasonable thing by setting some boundaries, as you described in your earlier post. Do you think your mom would benefit from more contact, more socializing with others? Is there a senior organization nearby where she could go for an occasional meal, perhaps, or a card game? I wonder if some of her "clinginess" comes from having no one else to spend time with.

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    1. I've written parts of this before, either for myself or as part of different posts that I then edited. But this time, going public with it has given me relief to an extent I haven't had previously. I think it's because now I can be honest here all the time.

      I agree that Mom needs more social contact, and I've tried to get her to go out to the extent possible during the pandemic, but she won't. She says she's worried about Covid, and I think that's true and, at her age, valid until booster shots come along, but I have a feeling there are more reasons too, like perhaps just not being interested in people she doesn't already know - she has already mentioned that. The geriatric clinician gave us the information for an Adult Day Program which was described as a meal, some exercise (which Mom favours) and companionship - but Mom wasn't interested. I know that time must be long for her but I need her cooperation to change that.

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  2. I am baffled. How did you even keep up with all this? I don't see you - or your mother - as a monster, just human beings. Economical meanness can be really hard to deal with for the other part, I have no advice only moral support from far avay and prayers. (I hope what I write comes over as honestly compassionate - it is hard for me to express sentiments in a foreign language).

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    1. You did just fine expressing your compassion in a foreign language, Charlotte! Thank you for your kind thoughts. There is no reason for my mother to worry about money so I wish she would spend it on herself and her house as needed, and be fair to others in the process.

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  3. 'She talks only of herself. She is the center of every melodramatic story, with details that have changed to make her the heroine every time. She blames everyone else for any problems that arise...' SNAP. Though sometimes (when it suits) my mother also made herself out to be the victim.
    My mother did A LOT for the community. Some awe inspiring things. For a long time she was the woman I aspired to become. And then she became the woman I try very, very hard not to be. I am still shamed that in the final years of her life the woman she was dominated my behaviour and responses to her needs. Yes I did a lot of things she wanted and needed (not always the same thing) but I could not muster a good attitude.
    Hugs dear friend. And a tsunami of caring.

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    1. And hugs back to you, EC - I know how well you understand this, and I want you to also know how that knowledge sustains me at my worst moments. I know you are a compassionate person and it helps me to hear that it's not just me who can burn out. Thank you for that, and for your unwavering support in private over many months now.

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  4. Thank you for sharing those details. I don't really have any advice, as I've never had to be caregiver for any older relatives, my mom died in '91 and my dad was still going out on his salmon fishing boat at age 84 when he died of a heart attack in his sleep.
    OK, I lied, I do have a bit of advice, it's just that I've already given it: please try to care for yourself first, and please also remember how damn lucky your mom is to have you.
    I hope things get on a more emotionally manageable track for both of you, you deserve to live your life for yourself as well as for those you care about and for.

    -Doug in Sugar Pine

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    1. Thank you, Doug - yes, I feel like I'm not living life for myself at this point and that is very hard.

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  5. Jenny, I don’t think it is wrong or selfish to put yourself first. I saw how my mother helped care for her mother but then my father got cancer and Mom had two of them sick at the same time. My grandmother had dementia, so Mom arranged care for her until she got into a home. Mom cared for Dad but was in hospital herself from the stress. I didn’t live in the area and my brother, who did, helped as much as he could.

    One can only do so much without jeopardizing one’s own health. Take care of you first! Grieve. Let go of guilt. Easy to say on my part I know. It can damage your health if you don’t. You need help with the situation. I wish you the best, Jenny.

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    1. Thanks, Marie. I had hoped for help from community services or the geriatric clinic, but my mother has to agree to receive community services before they can go to her home, and the geriatric doctor appointment won't be for another three to four months, which indicates to me that they don't see any need to rush it. I hope that redefining the lengths to which I go will take some of the pressure off me. I wish Mom was okay with getting some help other than mine.

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  6. Sending big hugs and understanding.
    My mother was, putting it plainly, a bully all her life.
    We were very lucky that for many years the only person she would meekly listen to was my brother, even before my father died. So lucky that my brother had apparently never wanted his own family.
    You are right to have time and space for yourself.
    Hoping that matters will gradually improve...and writing it all out will help you too

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    1. Thank you, gz. Did your brother ever indicate he wanted less responsibility? I'm sorry you had to deal with an overbearing mother.

      Writing it out has helped already. It means that when the next thing happens (as it will) I won't have to explain the background. I don't want to turn into a complainer at every turn but it's good to be able to talk about some things and have readers understand.

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  7. I don't think you have anything to apologize for, jenny_o. You are sharing your feelings and that is cathartic in and of itself. I hope you feel a little better for sharing. It is hard putting yourself first because there is going to be guilt and it is your mom. You have to do what is best for you because if you don't then your health is going to suffer. It sounds like you are already mentally there so please, please try to set some boundaries if you can. I know it is easier said than done and we are not you so it is pretty easy dispensing advice when we don't have to take it. But we care about you and want you to be happy so take care of yourself.

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    1. Thanks, Mr. S. It feels wrong to air my mom's private life but it's all so tangled up with my stress, and I hoped it would help me to write about it. I think it has.

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    2. I am glad to hear this, jenny_o. Hope your week is going well.

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  8. Writing, writing, writing probably is your best friend. I hope you can find a way to carve up a space for yourself and occupy it.

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  9. You end up somewhat overwhelmed with these issues. It's not easy to let them go but you're going to have to let up on some of this. it's easy for me to say but hard to do by the person in the situation. All the best in your journey.

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    1. Thanks, Red. I don't know how to reduce the load any further, but setting boundaries and writing here about it have both helped. What I worry about is what happens if I get sick or otherwise incapable of looking after her needs. I guess then I'd have to tell her she just has to accept visits from the VON.

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  10. This is will definitely help someone. I think we struggle with honestly because we are socialized to be "perfect" (especially by teacher parents). I say this with respect, but also with some shame.... I am a teacher and I put a lot of pressure on my first born to be better than me. But she taught me instead.

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    1. My struggle with honesty was because I feel I'm invading my mother's privacy by posting about her in such detail. I may end up removing this post in a week or so.
      I didn't intend to paint all teachers with the same brush. I was referring to all the teachers whose families *I* have personally known. For some reason they've all tended to have very strong personalities!

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  11. Oh Jenny, I'm sorry. You have been through so much and you've always been the one to take care of everyone. Of course that means you have not always been able to take proper care of yourself. I think you have mentioned that you are not interested in talking with a professional about all this, but I can't help but think that possibly the right person could help you in dealing with everything. You especially need to be able to deal with your grief and not let caring for your Mother make you box it away. There are usually groups to help you face, understand and deal with grief. It might be helpful to meet others that can understand many of your feelings. Forgive me if I am out of line to suggest this but I worry about you, for you have had too much for anyone to handle!

    What if you put your foot down with your Mother and told her you want to help her but due to everything else in your life *you* need help in helping her. If there was some way you could convince her to allow someone to come to her house to help just one day a week, because with your job and everything else you are dealing with you just can't keep up seven days a week. Maybe some kind of geriatric specialist could help you to come up with a way to convince her to try this. I imagine it is a common problem with many with dementia that they don't want outside help. If she could have someone just one day a week then maybe she would come to like having someone there to help her and eventually even agree to have help more often.

    I want so badly to help you and I wish I could do more. Thank you for posting this and please keep writing and sharing your feelings. It is good for you to get your feelings out. And Jenny, you have not fallen too low in my eyes, you have gone up much higher. xxx

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    1. Bonnie, you have such a kind nature and always make others feel heard. Thank you for that. I'm with you - I think if Mom would just get some outside help one day a week she would enjoy the chance to see other people. She worries a lot about people taking the Covid virus into her home. But she's not worried about the things she wants to do (like getting groceries)!
      Ah, well. This week started out rough but it's gotten better. It's much easier to visit with her than it is to try to plan appointments and so on with her. After her eye appointment on Monday I think we both relaxed. And it has really helped to post about it, too.
      I had planned to go to a grief counsellor, but didn't have time. In the meantime, I found an author on Facebook who writes about grief, and that has been very helpful. I think I'm micro-processing grief in little bits each day. So, on reflection, it was probably incorrect to say I've completely boxed it up. I didn't actually figure that out until just now as I read your comment and figured out a reply!

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  12. You haven't fallen at all in my eyes. You are even higher on the ladder of goodness than you were, with all the things you do for your family and your mother, who certainly doesn't seem to appreciate it. She has become manipulative and you are paying the price I think. Keep trying to be firm with her about having time and space to yourself. Remind her that she is not the only family you have and there are others who would love to see more of you.

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    1. That is an important point and I've already taken it to heart, River. I've emailed my daughter to arrange a visit with her family. The only issue with reminding my mom is that she forgets from day to day, so it's not a "one and done" discussion. Oh well :) Thanks for your very kind comment. I wasn't feeling very good at all about myself but everyone here has been so supportive, it's made me cry.

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  13. Even if you delete this later, I am sure it is good to have written it down and to know people read it and understand better. You've certainly done your share of caring over many years. Ye shall reap...

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    1. You know, I hadn't even considered deleting it, which probably made the decision to publish it even harder. But after reading your comment I realize I have the choice, so thanks for putting that idea in my head. Yes, it does help to feel people in my blog circle can understand it better. I'm feeling better after posting it.

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  14. You write so eloquently and described clearly your mother and her situation with your own feelings. I admire you in that you are dealing with this on your own not knowing which way to turn for the benefit of your mother and most importantly for yourself. I say most importantly because your mother is probably not aware of how her condition is affecting you so it is important that you look after yourself first. You don't want to make yourself ill so put yourself first and carry on working on the boundaries you told us about a post or two ago.

    I can't offer any practical advice as I don't know the health services/organisations you have in Canada.

    Take care Jenny.

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    1. Thanks, Joan. I appreciate your kind comment. We do have community services but Mom won't accept them, and that's a requirement before they will come in. The only way around that is to wait until she gets so bad she is considered incompetent to make her own choices, and then I or my brother could arrange for her to have help. Even that would be tricky if she was still insisting on not having anyone in her home. The geriatric experts haven't been much help either. The evaluation took two months to happen, the results another month to get to me, and it will be another 3 to 4 months before she actually sees the geriatric doctor (not the doctor's assistant but the doctor himself). Not exactly speedy :) There are other helping services available if you pay privately, but the common barrier to all the available help is that Mom just won't accept them. And they can't help if she won't let them in the door. It's very frustrating as I just want her to have the help she needs but not have it all be coming from me.

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  15. Totally get your little teacher joke-my Stepmom, who raised me, is a teacher and my sister is a teacher, Teachers rock but they do have to keep control of a classroom, sometimes in less than perfect conditions. I guess it becomes a habit. Nobody is perfect, Jenny, Dear, and you do the best you can. You are amazing in my eyes. I remember your posts about your Dad and your husband but I didn’t know about your daughter. I cannot believe the stress you’ve been living under; not for a few weeks or months or even years, but years upon years. How did you keep going all this time? Give yourself credit for what you have done instead of beating yourself up over occasionally not living up to your expectations (which are probably excessively high if you’re a people pleaser). I’ve always thought that empathy was a special gift of yours and if self-involved me can see that all the way from the US, then surely it’s true. I’m with Doug-take care of you, first, and you’ll be better able to deal with everything else. One day at a time. Incidentally, my stepmom is going through the same thing right now except I live far away and my brother is the one taking care of her regularly. He has some of the same frustrations you expressed. This was a great post. Brings up a lot of thinking points. Incidentally, I also wish my mouth had a backspace key

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    1. That backspace key would be awesome, wouldn't it?
      I'm sorry to hear your stepmom is in decline and it's falling on your brother. It's hard to be the one in the midst of the situation, but I know it's also hard to live far away and feel like you have no way to help. I can tell you from my experience that my brother's moral support and listening ear are two very important things he does to help. He backs me up on every decision I make, he gives me feedback when I ask for it, he's willing to come stay with my mom for a few days to give me a break, and he's a good listener. He's also the only other person in the world that really knows what it was like growing up with Mom. I haven't taken him up on the few days' break because I always seem to reach a point where I think I can't handle it and then something happens to help me understand how to deal with it better and I can go on. But I know I CAN ask if I need to. Writing this post has made me feel much better than I expected, even. It's been freeing, even though I still fret about my mom's privacy. I may delete it after a week or two if I still feel unclear about it after that.
      I think you're right about teachers. They have to keep discipline and I think most of them already feel confident they can do that, and that feeling is based on something, some extra self-confidence maybe. And it's just the teachers I have known personally, it's probably not all of them :)

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  16. Those of us who have always been the ones to "have to" hold things together whether in our families or elsewhere--generally because we have no alternative--can find ourselves at the point you are today: Done. Tired. Angry. Fed up with being the strong one. (I literally almost punched someone for telling me how strong I was when I was dealing with some devastating issues at the time). And you know what, you are entitled to those feelings (okay, maybe not the punching). But more importantly, you need to let them out and not bottle them up. So don't feel even remotely bad for writing what you have in this post and sharing it with us. First, your blogging friends are probably among your most supportive folks--even if it is only in the words of compassion and understanding they share with you. Not a small thing. And something you really, really need during these overwhelming days. Would that we could do more for you. As others have said before me, you have to take care of yourself, first and foremost, at this stage of your life because no one else will. One thing you can do (maybe not so easy) is to forgive yourself. You are holding on to too many "should haves/shouldn't haves" and then beating yourself up about them. You are just one (albeit, mighty) human being. And a pretty damn good one, from my perspective. Shed the guilt, Jenny. It is a burden you don't need. xo

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    1. Thanks, Mary - wise words and I do get fed up being the strong one. It's not like we were given a choice. I am really disappointed there hasn't been more help, and speedier help, from our geriatric doctor and clinic. Maybe they're overwhelmed with people who need help; I don't know. The only advice I was given was that when a senior won't accept the available help, sometimes *we* (WE??) have to accept some risk to them. That was sort of useful and sort of not at all useful. It helps me be less driven to *make* Mom do things for her own good, such as taking her medication if she just doesn't want to, but I had hoped they'd have enough experience with stubborn seniors that they'd have a magic solution :) I hope your issues have settled down at the current time and/or you have support with them. I have found it's been a relief to have published this post. More than I expected.

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  17. You didn't owe any kind of explanation to us but now that it's here, let me just say you have done so much and lost so much and seem mostly unsupported and something has to give.
    You're no monster , there are no rules about what feelings you can have.

    Lots of love to you, Jenny

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    1. Thank you, kylie - I just hate having those feelings. It's been a shock to be unable to feel compassion at times. It makes me question myself. After I posted this, I did feel quite a bit of relief, as there has been a lot of support here and it makes me feel less alone. I used to have a good sounding-board and listener in my husband and now that is gone along with every other part of him. I do have other people who will listen, but no one wants to hear it as often as I want to say it. This week started out rough but it has gotten better and I think part of that is the support from everyone here. It lets me feel better toward myself AND my mother.

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  18. Dearest Jenny, this makes so much sense to me, and I am so sorry you are having to navigate so many emotional storms, any one of which might level a lesser soul. You must take care of yourself. Your mother may well not notice when you pull back a bit to nourish your own ragged heart, but even if she does, you must do it. I wish I knew the how of it, I don't, but you will need to be somewhere where you can unpack your grief and let yourself feel it, and release the guilt you clearly feel about how caring for your mother is stressing you. There is no need for guilt! You are human, a kind and empathetic person, and now it is you who needs to be cared for. Can you go away somewhere for even a week or two, maybe a monastery or peace village type place where you can simply be with nature and read and think and cry, where your meals are provided and there are no demands on you. My heart aches for you, you've been through so much. I send love to you dear Jenny, and if there is anything else I can give to assist your self care, you have only to ask. Hugs, dear friend. You are a queen among us. Don't be too hard on yourself. You are made of light.

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    1. Thank you so much, 37p - it helps to have offers like yours and the kind words from you and other readers here. If I could go away, I would, but it's logistically not possible. In any case, the relief I got from writing about this and having such support from readers has helped me relax and in turn that helps my mom's behavior, I think. Also, we don't have any more appointments to prepare for - it's much easier to visit when I don't have to *accomplish* something with her. Onward :)

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  19. Writing about this situation is healthy and stress relieving, I hope. Get it out. I've started telephone therapy. When the therapist and I spoke Monday night and I told her about some of the people in my life who have been difficult, she told me to talk about it and write about it until it doesn't hurt anymore. So I'll probably do some sharing of my own about certain people. Thank you for telling us about your mom.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. "talk about it and write about it until it doesn't hurt anymore" - I hadn't thought about it like that, and you've given me a new way to approach it. Thanks for that, Janie. I'm glad you're speaking to a therapist and getting good advice. Writing about this HAS helped me; it's amazing how much lighter I feel today. I hope it helps you to write too.

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  20. I know exactly where you are coming from, especially in regard to your conflicted emotions. Our mother stories are very similar. I recognise the anguish you suffer. One perceptive doctor told me it was a form of PTSD. To have it acknowledged was such a relief. Well, my dear, you sound at the end of your rope.
    Get yourself off to the cottage for a month! If you crack under the strain your family and the authorities are going to have to take over anyway, they should consider themselves darn lucky you only plan a temporary respite. Please do it, even if you have convinced yourself you can't, you actually can and it will be the best thing you have ever done.

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    1. I am surprised to find my mood is much better since writing about this, and I feel able to cope again. I read recently about a study that had a sobering conclusion - that a vacation only helps until you get back into the situation that was stressing you in the first place; it has no long-term effect. So I am trying to figure out how to reduce the stress day-to-day instead of escaping (which I must admit was on my mind a lot at one point). I'm sorry you had to deal with this too. Acknowledgement of the difficulty really is a relief, isn't it? Why are we so conditioned to keep it in that it comes as a relief when we get our feelings recognized as legitimate? I have to work on realizing maybe I'm not weak for having these feelings. Thank you for understanding, Susan.

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  21. This is normal, to be stressed and stretched in this situation and have a difficult time giving empathy and sympathy to someone who is asking so much of you.

    It's hard enough to go through what you've gone through, and the fact that you have all these things in your life, well, you are doing the best you can do, and it's good enough because it's all you can do.

    (((hugs)))

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    1. Yes, I use that self-talk a lot ("I can only do what I can do"). Writing about it, although I still feel wrong to broadcast my mom's life, has helped me more than I expected. There has been so much support here and helped me realize my feelings aren't unusual. This week has gone better than last week, for which I am thankful. Thanks for the kind words, Mimi.

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  22. Thank you for your candor. You certainly have had a hard road. You can only do so much in a day, and your feelings are not at all unusual. I hope your adult children can be some support and regret that I can only send hugs from afar.

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    1. Virtual hugs and good thoughts are surprisingly effective, e - thank you. My adult son has been an excellent listener, offers good ideas, and helps with things around the house and yard when he can get here; my daughter still has her chronic illness, including a great deal of pain, and a family (two small boys) but is sympathetic to my situation, and in an emergency I know she and her husband would do what they could, given their circumstances.

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  23. "It affected all our lives."

    Hugs.

    I know what you mean.

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  24. i think you are being little unjust to yourself with your last statement dear Jenny .
    speaking truth never makes one fall but rise only .i can sense your innocence in this whole matter .this makes my heart heavy that because of your mother's little self centeredness you are going through lots of pain and sorrow !

    knowing this that how she struggled hard to raise you in better environment reminds me my own mother . she similarly beard so much pain for raising us specially for making us educated .she was an ideal mother ,daughter ,sister and friend in all means .i saw all her good colors .then time came when my younger sister became rich instantly ,made my mom a fine big house ,bought her car etc. i knew this later that whatever my mother did to me meanwhile was my sister forced her to do .breaking up with me ,ignoring my letters and avoiding my calls .supporting my brother and sister in law for forcing me to leave them alone .all this she did because my sister forced her .despite of knowing that if i was her i would have never followed false instructions from younger daughter whom i knew well was little out of line kind of person i still loved my mom ,i was selfish enough to keep only those memories safe with that strengthen my being and keep my heart beating lightly . i loved her and wanted her with me when my sister threw her out after she saw she was of no use to her .

    i mean to say that you mother had good part too which is nice thing and relief for you as daughter. but she has a worst part which dominates her personality badly and effects your life negatively .

    to avoid further damage you should do what is good for you dear friend . i can really relate how it makes one feel guilty because of the lack of empathy for one we love but this is reality and has strong reason behind it so we have to face it bravely so can move further smoothly!
    hugs and blessings to you and family!

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